Archive for December 19th, 2009

If you need great gift ideas for Christmas (or extremely late ideas for Hanukkah), look no further. I have a raft of suggestions for you to help spread the holiday cheer and heighten the eggnog buzz.

As I’ve mentioned before, Stephanie and I have a whole lot of talented friends working in the film and publishing industries, and this year, three of them have had their work hit the shelves. A fourth friend has had a poetry anthology out for a couple of years. How close am I to these people? Well, I’ve been to the weddings of three, and served as best man to one of them.

Whether you’re looking for fun kid films, thoughtful young adult books, poetry anthologies or a bracing look at America’s past and future credit crises, my friends will have something for that finicky and hard-to-please family member.

First I submit to you “The Day-Glo Brothers,” penned by my friend Chris Barton and illustrated by Tony Persiani. The book recounts the invention of day-glo paint by the brothers Joe and Bob Switzer, who invented and perfected fluorescent colors in the pursuit of a more exciting magic show and overcame some hardship in the process. The book depicts the different sensibilities of the sober-sided Bob and the more devil-may-care Joe as they worked together to change the color of our world. The book’s been named one of the best children’s books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly.

If you’ve got a relative who’s more interested in the world of American business and finance, an old colleague of mine at Thomson Financial, Josh Kosman, offers a bracing look at the private equity industry in his book “The Buyout of America.” Here, Josh explains how the captains of the PE world have swooped down on healthy companies, compromising their long-term stability and their balance sheets to suck them dry for big profits. These problems could likely lead to the next big credit crisis, Josh writes. The book is already stirring some controversy in the powerful PE world, whose biggest players have cozy relationships with Washington. You can get a copy at Amazon.com.

Maybe that special person on your gift list needs more poetry in his or her life. If so, you can check out “Best Poems of the English Language,” a work that came out in 2007 and was edited by my friend Alissa Heyman.  This anthology features some 200 poets working from the 7th century to the 20th, which covers a lot of styles and a lot of the fantastic breadth of expression in our relatively young language. It includes all the greats: Shakespeare, Yeats, Shelley, William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Lee Masters, etc. Because it’s an anthology, it will not only satisfy people who love poetry but also those who want to look like they do and need an accoutrement to their cultivated image of refinement!

If you’re dealing with someone less interested in books, then why not order a copy of “Shorts,” a film for both kids and adults by Robert Rodriquez with material supplied by my close friend Alvaro Rodriguez. The film follows the expolits of a bunch of kids whose wishes are granted by a magical wishing rock and whose troubles with their wishes are played out in a number of funny vignettes, some of which are touching and others are funny and maybe even a bit gross.

Certainly, one of these items will satisfy that special friend and loved one. If not, then let’s not kid ourselves: You’re probably just going to get them a fruit cake.

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